We know life can be a hard sometimes, so allow us to paint a picture for you: the sun has finally broken through the dour English clouds, you’re in linen trousers holding a cold glass of cider, and the beat of your favourite song is playing so loud that it thumps through your chest. That can only mean one thing: it's festival season.


In the UK, we’re incredibly lucky to have access to dozens, if not hundreds, of music festivals lasting all throughout the summer months. From the huge 100,000+ visitor festivals like Download to the smaller festivals on your doorstep like Standon Calling, we’ve got more choice than you could possibly want for this beloved summer activity.

The only problem, of course, is how to choose which festival to go to. If you’re basing it on music genre then you’ve got festivals for everything, including pop, rock, EDM, R&B, folk, musical theatre and so much more. If you’re looking for the best line-ups then there’s everyone from Guns N’ Roses and Metallica to the 1975 and Lizzo making appearances at festivals this year. Then you’ve got all the extra activities, too, whether it’s camping and watersports or cooking and comedy, to take into consideration.

With all these questions, plus children, to factor in, a pleasant search for a music festival can quickly turn into something overwhelming. Queue the RadioTimes.com theme music.

To help you sift through the endless line-ups, camping guides and funky names for tents, we’ve put together this list of the very best music festivals to try in 2023. We’ve included festivals from all over the country and for each, we’ve put their headliners as well as something unique about them, so you can quickly decide whether it’s worth it or not.

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For obvious reasons (ie, sold-out tickets) we haven’t included the biggest festival of them all: Glastonbury. But don’t worry, all these events are worthy replacements and often less expensive, so give them a look.

And, despite what we said earlier, the summer dates are never a guarantee of good weather. So, if you do decide to go to one of these fabulous festivals, make sure you pack some wellies and a jumper as well as your sun cream.

Without further ado, here are the best UK festivals to try in 2023.

Buying someone a festival ticket would be a great birthday gift, and for more present inspiration, take a look at the best experience birthday gifts.

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Best UK music festivals at a glance:

Best UK festivals to try in 2023

To help with your decision, we’ve sorted these festivals three ways: family festivals, which will include great number of activities for kids as well as child-friendly headline acts; small festivals, which will focus on more local events usually with capacities under 15,000; and music festivals, which are the big blow-out events you see ruling the headlines.

Feel free to jump to whichever type of event suits you best. Whether you like a quieter atmosphere or are a mosh pit expert, we’ve got something for everyone. Enjoy!

Best family festivals in the UK for 2023

Kew the Music

Set in the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew the Music is a series of outdoor picnics that combines gorgeous views with classic hits. This year, you can see the likes of Bastille, The Vamps, and The Human League – Don't you want this baby?

Buy Kew the Music tickets from £36.88

Barclaycard presents Latitude Festival

Latitude festival

Barclaycard presents Latitude festival (formerly known as Latitude) is an award-winning music and arts festival set Henham Park, Suffolk. Its biggest asset is the park’s lake which allows visitors to swim, paddle board and have outdoor yoga sessions nearby. It also has tents devoted to poetry, theatre, literature and dance, and this year’s headliners include Pulp, Paolo Nutini and George Ezra.

For more information, you can find our guide to how to get tickets to Latitude.

Buy Latitude Festival tickets from £90.75

Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival has been described as a "festi-holiday" thanks to its efforts to combine music with an all-round family experience. Now with two locations, in Dorset and Shropshire, Camp Bestival has highlights such as the world’s biggest bouncy castle and massive firework displays. This year, both will see appearances from Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sam Ryder, while Dorset will have The Kooks and Shropshire has Rudimental.

Buy Camp Bestival, Dorset tickets from £77

Buy Camp Bestival, Shropshire tickets, from £77

Deer Shed Festival

Deer shed festival
See Tickets

Deer Shed festival is run by families, for families. Set in Yorkshire, the festival has rides, canoeing, pottery and craft tents for children, skateboarding lessons, and so much more. It has a brilliant comedy tent featuring Phil Wang and Bridget Christie, and music from the likes of Public Service Broadcasting and The Delgados.

Buy Deer Shed Festival tickets, from £157

Wilderness Festival

Wilderness festival

Wilderness is a four-day festival that encourages you to embrace your wild side and has a huge number of activities to help you explore the countryside of Oxfordshire. From paddleboard yoga to gathering lessons, it really takes you back to nature, while giving you acts like The Sugababes, Fatboy Slim and Arlo Parks.

Buy Wilderness Festival tickets from £199.80

Cinch presents CarFest

  • 25th – 27th August – Laverstoke Park Farm, Overton

CarFest is an annual music and motoring festival famously setup by radio DJ Chris Evans. The festival raises funds for Children In Need and has an unbelievable range of entertainment for all ages. Petrol heads will love the race track and car exhibitions, while foodies can enjoy the famous chefs appearing on the Kitchen Stage. Plus, there's a huge kid's zone (this year featuring Pudsey, Basil Brush and the Teletubbies) and music from the likes of McFly and Craig David.

Buy CarFest tickets from £82 at See Tickets

For more family friendly experiences to try this summer, check out what is Shrek's Adventure and how to get cheap Chessington tickets.

Best small festivals UK 2023

Margate Summer Series

Unlike most of the festivals on this list, the Margate Summer Series isn’t crammed into a single weekend. Instead, it takes place almost every weekend from June to September, bringing new acts to Margate seafront each time. It has a 5,000-person capacity, but you have plenty of weekends to choose from with this year’s including Tom Jones, Dizzee Rascal and Olly Murs.

Buy Margate Summer Series tickets from £49.50

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Hampton court Palace
Doug Armand/Getty Images

In the grandest of locations, Hampton Court Palace is an annual festival that fits only 3,000 people. It has two weeks of performances and is a great opportunity for picnics or upgrading to afternoon teas. This year you can choose from the likes of Soft Cell, Gladys Knight and Kaiser Chiefs.

Buy Hampton Court Palace Festival tickets from £77

Community Presents

Two door cinema club
Two door cinema club Ticketmaster

The July, fans of Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats will be treated to a special concert at Crystal Palace Park in London. Also featuring The Vaccines, Sea Girls and Baby Queen, this festival is a one day wonder in one of London's most beautiful parks.

Buy Community Presents tickets from £54.45

Truck Festival

Truck festival

Despite a capacity of 30,000, Truck Festival is known as “The Godfather of the small festival scene” or a “miniature Glastonbury”. It started off as an alternative to the more commercial music festivals in 1998 and has kept its small and indie music ethos as it’s grown in popularity. Promoting only independent music, this year has headliners Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J and Royal Blood leading the way.

Buy Truck Festival tickets from £160

Kendal Calling

Kendall calling

Kendal Calling is a festival that features music from the rock, indie, dance, folk and electro genres, as well as comedy. Over the years, it’s grown from a two-day, 900 capacity event in 2006 to a 25,000 four-day festival. But despite its bigger size, the large space of Lowther Park and the family-friendly options make for a much safer and more relaxed environment than other festivals, with Kasabian and Blossoms singing this year.

For more information, we have a guide to how to get tickets to Kendal Calling 2023.

Buy Kendal Calling tickets from £198.50

Standon Calling

Stanton calling

Set in Hertfordshire, Standon Calling will have the likes of Years & Years, Self Esteem, Bloc Party and The Human League this summer. It’s also famous for its friendly, inclusive atmosphere and varied activities such as inspiring talks, interactive workshops and hot tubs! Plus dogs are welcome, and they can participate in the annual dog show.

Buy Standon Calling tickets from £55

The Festival of Quilts

festival of quilts
festival of quilts

It's time to get crafty! Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting event, The Festival of Quilts, is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the Birmingham NEC this summer. With special guest appearances from the textiles world, plus competitions, galleries and workshops, you'll spend your time there in a magical sea of texture and colour!

And best of all, you can get money off your ticket by using the code RADIOTIMES23 when you purchase. This will take your ticket down from £18.50 to £16.50, so off you go – indulge in those quilty pleasures!

Buy The Festival of Quilts tickets from £16.50

Trentham Live

Trentham Live
Trentham Live
  • 16th – 20th August 2023 – The Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent

On the stunning Trentham Estate in Stoke-on-Trent you'll find Trentham Live, a five day festival featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry. Over the course of the week, visitors can expect to see McFly, The Hoosiers, Kaiser Chiefs, Natalie Imbruglia and more. This is only Trentham Live's third year of running and it's already packed full of world-class acts and activities.

Buy Trentham Live tickets from £50.40 at Ticketmaster

Connect Festival

Connect festival

Last on the small festival list is Connect Festival, which prides itself on being able to connect people through all types of music, from grassroots bands to global stars. It takes place on the Royal Highland Showgrounds in Edinburgh and expect Scottish bands, personalities and food tents. This year, its headliner is Primal Scream present Screamadelica, alongside Franz Ferdinand, Future Islands and more.

Buy Connect Festival tickets from £74.25

Best music festivals UK 2023

Isle of Wight Festival

Isle of wight

This Isle of Wight Festival started off in the late '60s as a Wood Stock-style counterculture festival, but now it’s known for mixing iconic legends with the hottest up and coming acts. Its music spans multiple generations and the Kidzone makes it perfect for families. This summer, Pulp, George Ezra, The Chemical Brothers and Robbie Williams will all be sailing over to Seaclose Park.

Buy Isle of Wight Festival tickets from £99

BST Hyde Park

Hyde Park
V2F Unsplash

American Express’s BST (or British Summer Time) Hyde Park is a massive set of concerts spread over three weeks, with each one featuring a very different headliner. This year, P!nk, Guns N’ Roses, Take That and BLACKPINK are the first to perform, each with their own supporting acts to make up a full day of entertainment. You can pick whichever concerts suit you best – but beware that P!nk and Bruce Springsteen dates are running out of tickets.

Buy BST Hyde Park tickets from £84.75

Lytham Festival


Lytham Festival has grown massively in recent years, from a one-day concert to a five-day event in Lancashire's Ribble Estuary. Its acts vary massively across genre and decade, with this year’s line-up including Jamiroquai, George Ezra, Sting, Lionel Richie, Def Leppard & Mötley Crüe.

Buy Lytham Festival tickets from £73.10

Wireless Festival


A great pick for young people trying out their first event, Wireless is an urban music festival that celebrates hip hop, rap, Afrobeats and grime artists from all over the world. It also serves up new artists who have pioneered their own sound and has an incredible party atmosphere, all in London’s Finsbury Park. This year, Travis Scott and Playboi Carti are leading the way with special guest 50 Cent also making an appearance.

For more, take a look at this guide to how to get Wireless tickets 2023.

Buy Wireless Festival tickets from £88

TRNSMT Festival


All the way up in Glasgow you can find the very best of pop, rock, hip hop and indie music acts with TRNSMT festival. After starting in 2017, this festival has quickly grown into a major Scottish event with the likes of The 1975, Pulp and George Ezra singing this year. It also has plenty of other stages, plus food stalls and bars.

Buy TRNSMT Festival tickets from £88.40

All Points East Festival

stormzy all points east festival uk 2023
Getty / Gareth Cattermole

All Points East is annually held over two weekends in Victoria Park and has huge stars including Stormzy, The Strokes and Haim this year. It also runs a programme of free to enter areas for the local community called In the Neighbourhood, such as an outdoor cinema as well as theatre, arts, and sports activities.

Check out our guide to how to see Haim at All Points East.

Buy All Points East tickets from £85.30

Reading and Leeds Festival

Reading and Leeds

Last but very much not least is Reading and Leeds Festival, taking place over the same weekend in Bramham Park and Richfield Avenue. These twin events have an amazing line-up of music from rock to grime, with Billie Eilish, Sam Fender and The Foals taking to the stage this year.

Get Reading and Leeds Festival tickets from £101.20

For more exciting things to do up and down the country, here are the top murder mystery experiences, London experience gifts, and best Edinburgh ghost tours.

How much do festival tickets cost?

It's definitely no secret that festival tickets can be massively expensive, with Glastonbury tickets this year topping out at £335 in an all-time high. For the rest of them, sadly, it's a similar picture, with Download tickets costing £345 and Reading tickets priced at £286 each. In reality, if you're going for a weekend festival with big acts and camping included, you're usually going to be paying a minimum of £250.

If you're not looking to spend that much, we would recommend going with the events where camping isn't an option like Parklife, where you can get a full weekend of access for £135. Or, if you want to spend even less, pick the festivals where you only turn up for specific days like All Points East (from £101) or BST Hyde Park (from £84).

However, the cheapest prices are always going to be for the small festivals where you might not know as many of the acts. Events like Standon Calling and the Margate Summer Series run tickets from £50 if you pick specific days or specific acts, so if you just want a little taste of the festival life, maybe try one of these first.

What type of festival tickets can I get?

There's a range of festival tickets you can get, but generally most festivals will offer single day tickets and whole weekend tickets, which may or may not include camping. You can also upgrade to VIP or hospitality experiences which will include access to special tents and sometimes backstage.

With certain festivals, you can also buy campervan or tepee tickets so there's no need to sleep on the floor. For the spread out events like BST or the Margate Summer Series, you'll likely have to book specific acts rather than getting multiple dates.

Where to buy tickets for UK festivals

Most of the festivals on this list are available on Ticketmaster, but they can also be found on See Tickets, Live Nation and other individual ticketing sites.

We recommend staying away from resale sites as the often charge extortionate prices and don't actually guarantee you entry.

If music is in your soul, why not also check out our guide to how to get cheap concert tickets, or the best West End shows to see in 2023?


And, now that summer's here, take a look at some of these other sunny activities, like the best UK steam train experiences and the best London boat tours.